Spending Review Sets the Scene for Scottish Tories to Beat Labour into Second Place in Holyrood Election


Was George Osborne’s spending review drawn up with an eye on the forthcoming Holyrood election?

With his U-turn on tax credits, he has certainly redrawn the political landscape; shooting Scottish Labour’s fox and perhaps creating the conditions in which the Scottish Conservative Party could become the second party in Scotland. That would be an earthquake in Scottish political terms.

Perhaps ‘Earthquake’ will be the title of Iain McWhirter’s next book as ‘Tsunami: Scotland’s Democratic Revolution’ about the SNP landslide at the General Election is piled high in Scotland’s bookshops in time for the Xmas market, illustrated with a Japanese-style drawing of a huge wave.

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Edinburgh: A City in Decline?


Platinum Point from Asda Newhaven. Pic Rob Bruce.


Update: Fri November 20. The Evening News on the tram situation. 


Below posted Sunday November 15


IF EDINBURGH is entering a period of decline which may last the rest of the 21st century, the SNP will have to shoulder a great deal of blame.


At a time when the city has never been more in need of strong leadership, vision and imagination for its future it is being sabotaged by a party which is prepared to sacrifice the economic prosperity of the capital to a populist agenda it believes will further its nationalist project.

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Scunnered by Scot-free passport design

THE ONLY WORD to describe how I feel about the new UK passport design is scunnered. Not one Scot is among the seven faces that are to be plastered across it. It is to have an embossed face of Shakespeare on every page as a security feature. But what about the other globally recognised poet these Isles have produced, our beloved Rabbie Burns?

I struggle to understand the motives behind the redesign. At the time of the referendum on Scottish independence last year, I wrote that a big part of my decision to vote ‘No’ was that I was not ready to give up my right to a British passport for what I thought was the potential mess of pottage offered by the Nats.  Commentator Allan Massie quoted me in his Scotsman column on the eve of the poll.

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Why the House of Lords should scrutinise the Scotland Bill

The SNP, according to Scotland on Sunday, is ‘furious’ about plans for the ‘unelected’ House of Lords to scrutinise the Scotland Bill. (http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/snp-furious-over-lords-power-over-scotland-bill-1-3821894)

The Lords are appointed not elected, granted. But there is more to democracy than being elected. After all, Hitler was elected.

A strong democracy relies at bottom on the protection of the rights of the individual citizen. That requires more than an elected bunch of career politicians being left in sole charge of all of the levers of power.

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Are Scotland's Psephologists Riding for a Fall?


Aside from a computer on the desk, my local betting shop has a traditional look, complete with newspaper racing pages sellotaped to the wooden walls, stubby pencils and drawn blinds. As I entered, a man with a lived-in face and an unlit roll-up cigarette protruding from the corner of his mouth was exchanging a slip of paper for some ten pound notes.

Most betting here is on the horses, but I was looking to place a bet on politics. More specifically, I wanted to place a bet against the psephologists who are predicting that the SNP could take every seat in Scotlandhttp://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/04/29/snp-could-win-all-59-scottish-seats-at-election_n_7168570.html?utm_hp_ref=uk.


Read more: Are Scotland's Psephologists Riding for a Fall?